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Comment: Montgomery County's own guidance allows 1mile walk (Score 3, Insightful) 784

by xeno (#48835019) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

According to the Montgomery County school website, having the kids walk a mile with a sibling is within normal community standards, and in line with guidelines set forth by the county itself.
(See )

In Montgomery County where this occurred, school bus transportation is only provided for elementary school children who live further than 1mi from school, and for middle schoolers (11yo+) further than 1.5mi. The county's guidance for elementary school kids walking 1 mile or less is "Younger walkers are encouraged to walk to and from school with siblings, older children from their neighborhood, or parents. At many schools, Montgomery County crossing guards help walkers cross at busy intersections near the school. In most elementary schools, student safety patrols guide younger children in crossing smaller neighborhood streets."

I don't see how CPS has a leg to stand on here; the children were simply practicing what they are expected to do by the county school system itself.

Comment: Re:parachute (Score 3, Informative) 248

by xeno (#48834575) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Because parachute recovery is a method of salvage, while "crazy rocket landing" is a method of full reuse without refurbishment.

Keep in mind that refurbishing the waterlogged shuttle boosters ended up being 3X more costly than original estimates, much of the nozzle apparatus was completely trashed each time, and the whole process took months to turn around a single booster.

SpaceX is working toward an airplane/airport-style refuel-and-refly-immediately model. That autonomous landing platform is actually a fuel depot, with the eventual intention to refuel first stages and relaunch them immediately for short hops back to a proper launch facility where they can be fitted with a new payload within a day. Crazy? Maybe. Wrong? I don't think so.

Comment: I'll take that kind of progress any day. (Score 4, Insightful) 248

by xeno (#48833629) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

Hey, as these things go, this was a very very good failure. Consider that we've just progressed from the old reality's typical "the vehicle will splash down somewhere in this 500-square-mile area of the ocean," to Spacex's new reality of "we accurately flew down to a 0.0018-square-mile platform, and borked the touchdown on this first try."

I'll take that kind of progress any day.

Comment: Re:The Dangers of the World (Score 3, Insightful) 784

by xeno (#48833377) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

An how many of those runaways are in response to aggressively controlling parenting behaviors? This is not a facetious comment; my otherwise model children (12 and 15) have in recent years begun to sharply rebel against their mother's strict control of their travel and other normal expansion of responsibility, to the point where they now simply ignore her and leave her home, and she calls them in as missing to the police. (They turn up at the local coffee shop doing their homework, more often than not.) In contrast, I have given both children guidance on how to travel safely, made sure they have state ID cards, bus passes, mobile phones, and bank cards, and I get to know their friends. When I call, the kids always pick up. Always.

The path of fear feeds on itself, and leads to very dark places. I fear for children who are sheltered and smothered in this way, because it just delays a child's process of learning how to manage risk. When these same innocent and ignorant kids are turned loose on college campuses at 17-18yo without the survival skills of my 12yo and without parental support when learning to manage their own risk, they end up with alcohol poisoning, stoned, roofied, fucked, pregnant, infected, robbed, indebted, flunked out, helpless, and ground down on the grit of all the other things they were never told about.**

I let my kids walk home, thank you very much.

( ** Nothing has changed about this, btw. Decades ago it was sad to see the home-schooled and mormon kids fall this way among their college freshman peers, but more often than not... in the long run, being sheltered just makes you soft and unprepared. It's the same today.)

Comment: summary of SCOTUS case law: "pppphhhhhhtttttt, no" (Score 1, Interesting) 250

by xeno (#48603963) Attached to: Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

Mod parent up! (crap, I had points left yesterday.... :)

Parent makes the important point: There's existing SCOTUS case law for this, and Sony's legal-ish threats and demand for press et al to refrain from looking at embarrassing things wouldn't stand up in a stiff breeze, much less in a lower court.

Frankly I'm kind of surprised to see a relatively experienced lawyer such as Boies make a demand like this, even if he is a distinguished douchebag. Usually lawyers like him are concerned about appearances, and making laughable demands that evoke a Streisand effect is bad for business.

Comment: No, Windows 8 pulled a Unity, not the reverse (Score 2) 125

by xeno (#48556367) Attached to: Unity 8 Will Bring 'Pure' Linux Experience To Mobile Devices

OP gets things turned around: Canonical released the Unity interface for Ubuntu in the summer of 2010, and then made it the mandatory desktop on Ubuntu in mid-2011 sparking an exodus of users to other distros, Windows, and OSX. Without getting into some curious timing... Just about a year later in the summer of 2012, Microsoft released the Metro interface for Windows 8, copying many of the tiled UI ideas and touch/gesture-on-the-desktop that had been rejected by more geeky and novice users alike -- only this time into a far larger market.

Honestly, from inside Redmond it was very strange to watch this happen, with a lot of people asking 'what the hell are we doing?' and variations on 'didn't the little guy fall on his face when he tried this?' The parallels were almost comical; with Ballmer and Sinofsky insisting that "customers like this!" in words almost identical to Shuttleworth two years earlier, and similar expressions of dismay and denial of the humiliating reception that followed. Though Ballmer and Sinofsky wielded market power Shuttleworth could only dream of, the outcomes were predictable and there had been plenty of warning. The hard part for these guys to accept is that when your ideas are so thoroughly rejected by people/consumers/end users -- and you keep doing the unwanted thing anyway -- it's not like the audience remains as motivated to see what you come up with next**. They just start ignoring you.

** (even if the very same UI concepts work well in another context -- in this case, on a mobile handset)


Comment: Re:Unwanted video on top of Australis mess? I'm ou (Score 1) 237

by xeno (#48504103) Attached to: Firefox 34 Arrives With Video Chat, Yahoo Search As Default

I did. They didn't give a shit. And lest you think me a whiner, I also contributed work and donated a bunch of money to the Mint project (among many others), and whaddya know, they listen to both technical and nontechnical contributors... and produce a polished product with great flexibility across a wider audience. So don't tell me it can't be done; it's just that the FF team decided their first principles were "oo shiny" and "I know best" instead of "do the needful things" and "listen."

Comment: Unwanted video on top of Australis mess? I'm out. (Score 2, Insightful) 237

by xeno (#48502687) Attached to: Firefox 34 Arrives With Video Chat, Yahoo Search As Default

Make that STILL out.

When the naval-gazing derpfest at FF rolled out that hideous chrome-knockoff "Australis" interface revamp in v29, I used the debian equivalent of the middle finger: sudo apt-mark hold firefox
to stem the tide of f**ck-the-user UI design, common features hidden behind weird hamburger buttons, and unreadably huge defaults.

That gave a me a little time to explore options. With a little work, I can make Seamonkey usable, but I do lament the loss of an easy choice that IU can recommend to less geeky friends. IE is a lost cause even on my work machines and msft doesn't remotely give a shit about user feedback. Chrome's entire skeletal structure is made from IE spyware toolbars working together as a virtualized/rootkit OS. And Firefox's UI team has gone full "Grinch paradigm" [To quote the original: "Here's our new, wonderful product. Isn't it wonderful? Don't you just love it? What do you mean it doesn't do something essential that you've been able to do for years and you don't like it? You ingrate! You're GOING to like our new product! We're not going to fix it just because you and 100,000 whiny little dweebs claim to need those missing functions!" ]

Screw this. I'm gonna donate a little more money to the upstarts, because Firefox is lost.

Comment: share those add/mod/deletes/config script ideas? (Score 1) 89

by xeno (#48501493) Attached to: Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon and MATE Editions Released

Do tell. I just updated my custom-stuff-after-installing-Mint script (which has become a go-to for friends and associates), and it's almost clean enough to share and/or xpost to the Mint forums. I'd love to add good ideas from others, and just as importantly, pull out or modify stuff that needs it.

What packages do you find objectionable?
          (e.g. this thread. Care to share that list of 50? Does removal break anything major? )

What are must-haves to add?
          (e.g. little stuff like acpi? mainstream stuff like ms core fonts, and cups-pdf so there's always something that behaves like a printer?)

Any elegant or specific fixes that you consider worth sharing?
          (e.g. have a sed one-liner to change "Label:0" to "Label:1" in /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf so that pdf print jobs don't overwrite each other, but still want a cmd line install of firefox extensions like noscript and ghostery?)

Comment: Re:It's a "used car", stupid. (Score 1) 126

by xeno (#48087067) Attached to: Tesla Is Starting a Certified Preowned Program

Yes, THIS.

A used car is a USED car, not "pre-owned" any more than I am "pre-dead" as long as I'm vertical, or the food in me belly is "pre-deficated."

I bought my current car (a reasonably lux and sporty V8 sedan that originally sold for just under $70k) from a dealer after it came back from a 3-year lease program. I told the sales droid that if he used the phrase "pre-owned" instead of "used" I would have to assume he was concealing or distorting other information about the car too. I'm sure he would have told me to go get stuffed except he knew I could pay outright. So he rolled, and spoke in plain and truthful terms about the USED car that I eventually bought. Oh, the power of the checkbook.

And one other thing: At 99.9999_% of dealers "Certified" means they had the most junior mechanic in the place run down a checklist, then detail the car. Maybe, maybe even an oil change and filter, but nothing more. Ever. However if Musk designs a CPO program where they throw the vehicle back on the assembly line, have the robots remove the body panels/battery pack/motor, check alignment/tolerances/fatigue, and then reassemble... yeah, that would be worthy of the notion of "certified."

Comment: Windows 10 = iPhone 6 (Score 2) 644

by xeno (#48029311) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Wait... what? Multiple desktops, same apps behave properly as fullscreen tablet apps or desktop windows, snapping control, hybrid menus, launch/switch/end gestures (copied from WebOS and Unity), a task view with app and desktop preview... Every single one of these features has been out for years on Linux (and most on Android or OS X), in much more polished form. It's 2014 and the Windows team is just now figuring out how to have two window managers co-exist? How very retro!

Windows 10 vs. Linux Mint/Ubuntu/Fedora/etc = iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy/Note series...
The dominant/big-name brand is _years_ behind and floating forward on market momentum.

Comment: shared wonder at the bigness and oldness of it all (Score 1, Insightful) 173

by xeno (#47996897) Attached to: Solar System's Water Is Older Than the Sun

The key part: "darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." I'm the last person to push theology, and not remotely christian, but that's... poetically pretty.

Yes, the waters were here long before us, before the earth, before (our) star. I don't have to agree with anyone's religious tales to appreciate and share a sense of wonder at the bigness and oldness of it all.

Comment: overthinking the problem (Score 1) 138

by xeno (#47954293) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

They're overthinking the problem. It's in Georgia. All's ya need to do is give BillyBob's thousand-year-old grampy a decent slingshot and a bucket of marbles, and tell him you'll pay him $250 every time he can hit one of those tiny little gummint spy planes.

Better yet, get him to tell his fishing buddies about the prize, and his buddies, etc... until you have a low level permeation thru the community. Just remember to pay 'em (and pay out of the set's lunch fund on an obfuscated line item that says something suitably snarky like "humble pie" or "tasty crow".) Oh, and tell 'em old guys: you can't eat what you catch, but you can resell the parts on ebay.... :)

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.