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Comment: Is there a light-weight XFCE distro? (Score 1) 90

by billstewart (#49162055) Attached to: Xfce 4.12 Released

Yes, XFCE is a nice light-weight window manager. Is there a light-weight distro that uses it? Ubuntu wants 5-10GB of disk, even for Xubuntu and Lubuntu. TinyCore can do a graphical environment with maybe 100MB, but is a bit too minimalist for me - I want something that can keep security update working with no more work than apt-get/yum/etc. I need a window manager, browser, shell, and maybe a C compiler or so, and I want something under 0.5 GB so I can keep a few spares on a desktop and spin up lots of cloud instances as well.

Comment: Better Krebs than Weev (Score 2) 230

You don't want to end up like Weev, even though they did eventually let him out of jail. And you're apparently not somebody who's got the kind of personality he has, which, while it may make you less likely to end up in jail, isn't necessarily going to get you off the hook either.

Comment: Fragmentation is terrible for hardware owners (Score 1) 136

by billstewart (#49144849) Attached to: Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation?

How many Android phones have you had that didn't require you to either wait for your carrier to provide an update (and they never do), or give up and root the machine to install Cyanogenmod or whatever, or you just bought a new shiny phone to replace it? My HTC Aria is so hopelessly vendor-locked I doubt it's worth putting Cyanogen on it (the OTA upgrade from 2.1 to 2.3 never succeeded.) My newer Samsung did get upgraded to 4.4.2, but my Coby tablet running 4.0.4 isn't the version the manufacturer sells today, so I doubt they'll bother with customer satisfaction.

I haven't been able to Google up a good reference to Android documentation from Google that says how a regular user can upgrade their own Android version, as opposed to "Wait until your vendor ships an upgrade!"

Comment: What can go wrong? Concrete, that's what (Score 1) 421

by billstewart (#49112121) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

The easy way to turn things white is to make roads out of concrete instead of asphalt. The catch is that the process used to make cement in most of the world involves heating calcium carbonate enough to bake out a CO2, leaving calcium oxides / hydroxides, so it's a surprisingly large generator of greenhouse gasses, more than making up for any albedo gains. Oops.

Comment: Re:Mossad connection is a red herring (Score 1) 113

Israel doesn't have a lot of revenue sources or natural resources, so high-tech products like software are important to them, even more so than growing oranges on Palestinian land. And everybody has to serve in the army, except a few specially exempted groups, so just about everybody with a college education has been in the Army before they got that high-tech job, and a lot of them did computer jobs in the Army as well as marching around with Uzis, because every army these days needs computer technology. That doesn't mean that every high-tech company in Israel, or even every sleazy adware company in Israel, is a front for Mossad.

Homeland Security has two highly obvious reasons to put out urgent guidance to remove crapware - there's a Congressional partisan squabble that's caught their budget in the crossfire, so they want to get positive press mention rather than the negative mention they'd get if they didn't do that, and the NSA's just gotten caught bugging every computer in the world so Homeland Security needs to talk about anybody else they can being dangerous and scary.

Besides, if it really was Mossad, they'd have done a much better job.

Comment: Dude, we want a UNICORN pony! (Score 2) 113

Not just any boring vanilla pony - we want a unicorn pony and rainbows and the whole bit!

Lenovo probably will fire somebody, for embarrassing them, but it won't change the number of vendors of crapware out there. Lenovo's certainly not going to take the kind of financial hit that Gemalto did when the public found that the GCHQ had pwned all the SIM cards they sold. Maybe one or two adware companies will lose a non-trivial percentage, but there's a market for sleazy advertising and there's a market for having software companies pay to Add Valuable Features to your hardware.

Comment: Hey, it's Inman from the Oatmeal (Score 1) 105

by billstewart (#49108383) Attached to: "Exploding Kittens" Blows Up Kickstarter Records

It probably took him a while to draw all the cards (though they're mostly cartoon-level drawings, which is a little easier), and they actually did spend a bit of time play-testing and tinkering with it to get a playable-more-than-once game. But dude, it's a card game about Exploding Kittens, and that's consistent with the humor he's well-known for, so he's not going to freak out his core audience, and they'll presumably attract half the people who've played Cards Against Humanity as well.

And yeah, it presumably took them a lot longer to figure out how to get this produced and printed in volume and fulfilled than to design the game.

Comment: I would *hope* he got paid a lot! (Score 1) 447

by billstewart (#49108349) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

There are only three good reasons for promoting climate change denialism.

  • - Protecting corporate interests, and
  • - Supporting the political party that protects those corporate interests, and
  • - Annoying people who oppose that political party.

Protecting corporate interests by promoting bad science is something you shouldn't do at all, but if you're going to do it for them, they should be paying you really well. Supporting that particular political party's protection of their corporate sponsors' interests by promoting bad science is something cynical enough you should also only do if they're paying you well for it. (They pay their other marketers well.) Annoying liberals is something you can do for lolz is something you can do for free if that floats your boat.

If you're going to do "scientific research" to disprove climate change, and you don't get some outrageously large "research grant", you're getting ripped off, and you should at least go join a union like the Screen Actors' Guild so you can get paid scale and overtime. (SAG union rules presumably say the studio is supposed to pay for costumes, but if you need to spring for a white lab coat and some glassware and blinkenlights to make a demo tape, that's probably ok, even if they use that in production.)

The Almighty Buck

How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests 447

Posted by timothy
from the note-that-doesn't-mean-he's-wrong dept.
Lasrick writes Elected officials who want to block the EPA and legislation on climate change frequently refer to a handful of scientists who dispute anthropogenic climate change. One of scientists they quote most often is Wei-Hock Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun's energy can largely explain recent global warming. Newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon has made a fortune from corporate interests. 'He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.' The Koch Brothers are cited as a source of Dr. Soon's funding.

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.