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Comment Re:Yes, yes, bring us back the workaround. (Score 1) 78

What about those of us with prosthetic hands who can't use touch screens for lack of capacitive coupling?

You know they have gloves with capacitive fingertips now so you can use such devices, right? They don't depend on your fingertip's capacitance. That's a solved problem.

Actually, it's a problem I solved for Bochs when I worked at Google. Because I had the need to solve the same problem for a robot that needed to be able to capacitively couple with touch devices. The gloves only work because they are conductively connected to a great big meat antenna (you), such that the cpacitive coupling works.

If you have an artificial limb, there's generally no electrical coupling to the meat antenna. So people with artificial limbs do not get to use touch devices.

The fix is to place a conductive film in the plasticine coating, and to hook it up to an antenna. It's a relatively simple hack, and you can pretty much use any WiFi or Cellular modem antenna from a laptop to do the trick.

And then, voila! Magically able to use touch screen devices. The prototype allowed a man in Germany to use the touchpad on his Lenovo Thinkpad for the first time in his life. Which meant he didn't have to carry a mouse around, since both his arms were prosthetic.

Yes, I am a genius. I'll even let you hire me if you have something interesting to work on. You probably don't.

Comment These guys are morons. (Score 3, Insightful) 109

These guys are morons.

We pushed crypto development to South Africa for FreeBSD back in the early 1990's to get around ITAR restrictions: "you can import, but you can't export".

We will happily route around this brain damage, too.

P.S.: The way to get better cryptographers in other countries is to make cryptographers criminals in the U.S.; obviously, it will not do fuck all to actually stop cryptography from happening, it'll just be that our people end up being shit at it compared to their people.

Comment Yes, yes, bring us back the workaround. (Score 1) 78

Yes, yes, bring us back the workaround.

The underlying problem doesn't have to be resolved, because we can just ignore it by installing a bolder font than the one that uncovered the underlying problem in the first place by making it more obvious.

Does anyone else see this as a crap solution to the problem?

Does anyone else see the actual problem is people with bad vision trying to use eReaders?

What about those of us with prosthetic hands who can't use touch screens for lack of capacitive coupling? We should dumb down all of our devices so that the most handicapped among us can use them all. You know, instead of working to fix the handicaps or anything.

Comment Does matter (Score 1) 167

>Doesn't matter. That's still denialism. It still does not work. The end user will throw the software in trash. There must be compatibility even for badly-designed documents, because in real life we have those as well.

Yes it does matter, because the point is that a very badly formatted document or one that uses non-standard fonts is just as likely to not look the same from various people USING MS-OFFICE as is does when viewed by various people using LibreOffice.

Comment Re: I was able to successfully use a docx (Score 1) 167

>"It depends on the document. I still regularly encounter Word docs and Powerpoint presentations that don't render properly in LibreOffice; it'll be interesting to see how 5.1 improves that though."

Most of the time, although not all of the time, it is due to either a very poorly formatted document, or using non-standard fonts, or both. At this point, it seems almost as likely that different versions of MS-Office with different OS's and different font sets have about the same success/failure rate as sharing those proprietary formats with LibreOffice (of course, your results may vary).

It is rare I have any cross-software issues with typical documents, although it does happen sometimes, and I use nothing but LibreOffice and get all kinds of proprietary MS-Office documents every day.

What is interesting is that I sometimes will send ODF files back at them now, and rarely get complaints anymore. Not sure if this means MS-Office can generally/finally read ODF files. (I used to send only PDF or if I knew they had to edit it, I would send an MS-Office format back to them, exported from LibreOffice, IN ADDITION to the ODF file).

Comment Blame the victim (Score 1) 172

First let me say that I block everything that I can, to the point of ignoring a lot of content on the net.

So what? Lots of people don't even know that is possible.

That's...not how HTML works. The user asked for the data, and they're gonna get it, hard.

First off, don't even begin to pretend that webpages these days consist of merely HTML. Second, there is absolutely NO reason why the web page serving up the data cannot ask if the person requesting wants stuff from these third parties and to explain who and what these third parties are. That is technologically trivial. The reason they don't is because they are acting in bad faith and trying to hide their shady activities.

tl/dr: it is absolutely your fault for getting raped.

So my grandmother is at fault for "getting raped" because she didn't have the technical chops to defend herself? Wow... just wow. That is a perfect example of the sort of idiotic blame-the-victim attitude that forced governments to step in. Relatively few people are the sort of uber-nerd who reads slashdot for fun. Privacy rules by necessity must be a sort of lowest common denominator thing.

Comment Economics of solar vs nuclear (Score 5, Insightful) 265

Nuclear power: 500MW is considered a "small/compact" nuclear plant, costing about $1.5 billion with a footprint of a few acres with a lifetime of approx. 40 years.

A nuke plant will cost far more than what you are claiming. Costs currently are running between $5000-8000/KW. And that is just to build it - you didn't consider operating costs at all which are far more substantial for a nuke plant than a solar one. The waste disposal alone is a huge cost that doesn't exist with solar.

Why the hell are people investing in solar? The economics make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Really? You can't figure this out? Solar has no failure modes that can render a location uninhabitable. Solar has no serious fuel waste disposal problem. Solar has no weapon proliferation risk. Solar is insurable by private companies rather than nation states. Solar doesn't require getting fuel from elsewhere. Frankly solar has quite a lot to recommend it over nuclear in many (though not all) cases. Nuclear has its advantages but let's not pretend that it doesn't have some very substantial drawbacks.

Comment Economics (Score 3, Interesting) 265

If Morocco is just across from Spain, why would Spain pay for the energy (i.e. cost of production, plus payoff of initial outlay, plus transportation, plus the company profits) rather than just build their own?

A good question and the answers are mostly fairly straightforward. In no particular order here is a non-exhaustive list of reasons why they might decide not to build their own. Not all of these might be the case here but all are possible.
1) If they build there own it might result in overcapacity which would make the economics not work
2) Spain isn't in great financial shape so the financing might be a problem
3) Exchange rate risk. Currently the Euro is relatively strong versus the Morrocan Dirham. This means that 1 Euro can buy relatively more KWh.
4) Cost of land might be significantly higher in Spain. Spain has about 5/7 the land area with about 4/3 the population.
5) Politics (need I say more?)

Comment A feature that all android phones are missing... (Score 1) 140

Let me block a number with wildcards


Those three will block a bulk of worthless calls to my phone. I already have an app that kind of works but I would rather hav ethe phone do a connect and then instant hangup, or better yet play the universal "disconnect" tones that phone companies use for a phone number that is not in service to knock my number off a computer list.

There is no reason at all for the base OS telephone functionality to have built in blocking with wildcard support.

Comment Advertising ROI (Score 4, Insightful) 273

I think the whole advertising situation will get better once the tech bubble bursts.

You seem curiously convinced that A) we are in a bubble and B) that advertising will go away or "get better". You can't really know A for certain by definition because bubbles generally can only be identified in retrospect and B will never ever happen. It's unclear what "get better" means to you but I'm pretty sure whatever it is won't happen.

My prediction is that eventually the industry will fall apart as companies realise the ponzi nature of current advertising prices, and that much of this expenditure is not converting in to sales.

I think you don't understand the advertising business. You think that companies are naively throwing money at advertising because they don't know any better. While there are some out there where that is true for the most part buyers of advertising understand very well the relationship between advertising dollars spent and the returns they get. It's not at all hard to get a pretty solid idea of the correlation between ad spend and revenue.

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"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)