Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:NameCheap (Score 1) 295

by xenoc_1 (#49306215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Domain Name Registration?

Yet another +1 for Gandi, and mentioning a few specifics that haven't come up, as to why.

1. Good nameservers and the ability to have full control of your DNS zone file, in both a form-based "easy mode" and raw-text "expert mode". Once you start doing a lot of custom DNS; especially if you might split what services you have for that domain across multiple providers (e.g. a Linode or DO droplet, email on a different one, or Google or Zoho, subdomain for git, some different dev, staging, beta subdomains) it's really nice to have direct easy-edit access to your zone. In that sense, easier than Namecheap's DNS (which I also use on some domains registered their and via their FreeDNS on some not registered there), which is only form-based.

2. Free IMAP/POP/SMTP/webmail email with your domain. It's not great, it's max 1GB storage overall and 5 mailboxes (near-unlimited aliases), unless you pay extra, but that's fine if you simply need a way to send/receive mail from your domain in "real email programs" as well as in RoundCube webmail. It has spam filtering but no configurability thereof. Mail is hosted in their Paris, France datacenter. For my domains where I don't do a whole lot of email, it's perfect, saves the need for a hosting plan or for hosted email, or of the hassle of running my own server in one of my droplets (each of which I do indeed do for some of my domains).

3. Free first-year SSL/TLS cert (underlying issuance by Comodo but Gandi as the cert issuer) with every domain. Which trumps the $1.99 at time-of-registration-only low-end Comodo cert that is basically the same thing, from Namecheap.

4. Gandi includes domain privacy for address, phone, email for all contacts that are individual contacts - your name shows, but that means that you indisputably own the name. If you are a "corporate handle" (in other words, if you fill in the "Company Name" field), then you cannot mask your address and phone, but they still mask your email.

5. (Maybe good or bad depending on your preference) Gandi still uses the old concept of "handles" rather than "customer accounts", at least optionally. Thus it's possible to have entirely separate IDs as the Registrant, Admin Contact, Tech Contact, and Billing Contact, on any domain. Those are entirely separate logins to Gandi. You don't have to do that, you can make everything just one. But any difference in address, email, name, is by definition another contact. This is powerful, but confusing to newbies to domain ownership.

6. First-time domain registrants (not first-time per domain) get a half-price coupon for a year of Gandi Simple Hosting. "SImple Hosting" is actually "Gandi Complicated Hosting" compared to typical shared hosting: no email, no cPanel, no "hosting panel" at all, but panels for the VPS, for the apache daemon, for PHP APC, and for whichever one database you choose. But it's a lot simpler than managing a full bare VPS, as it's a managed Platform as a Service, and sold as such as a PaaS. Given that a size S is only $2.50/month or the more-reasonable starter, a size M, is only $5/mo at that discount, it's a great deal. I've been running both some development and some client production sites on Simple Hosting for a few years now, and in many ways it beats the heck out of shared hosting. It's basically a tech-stack-specific, managed VPS on which you don't get root, but do get a lot of control otherwise. You get to take a half-price shot at this with your first domain registration, and no, it doesn't have to involve that domain.

Items 3 (1 year free SSL per domain) and 6 (1 year half-price Simple Hosting per customer) aren't tied to the domain which entitled you to them, nor to its period of registration. You just have to order the certificate before that registration period is up. I've gotten Gandi certs from a domain, only a few days before transferring that domain out, and the cert is good for a year, of course. I've used Simple Hosting promo coupons the same way, near the end of their 1-year validity.

Comment: He has no votes to "write off" (Score 1) 435

by xenoc_1 (#48622695) Attached to: In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

Either Obama has written off the Cuban vote in Miami or he has decided to concede FLA to the GOP.

You seriously think Obama cares who wins the next election? If he cares at all, it's probably to make sure that Hillary's chances of winning are even lower than they'd be if he hadn't antagonized the GOP by this move. And that just out of a "FU Clintons" perspective, not from any ideology at all.

Obama is done with elections. Well, at least until it's time for Malia or Sascha to run. He has no votes to "write off"

Comment: Re:if company does layoff, it is not allowed h1b (Score 1) 398

by xenoc_1 (#48548277) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

You're incredibly naive, or are part of the H-1B game on some side that benefits from it, if you believe that.

The simplest one is to hire Infosys or another big house, or a bunch of crappy "body shops", who can provide their own H-1Bs. Get rid of the $80/hr programmer, replace with a $50/hr billable programmer "contracted" from the Axis of Evil around I-287 in NJ or the one in northern VA, where the H-1B is paid $35/hr "prevailing wage" because the work gets redefined from senior to junior levels. Bottom line, "Americans" (as in US citizens and US permanent residents with green cards, committed to the USA already) are out of work, and a bunch of IT people from India are in their cubes. If from INFY or similar, there's a decent chance it's still a professional quality of work, though missing all the years of experience tossed aside in the purge, and likely at least some of the cultural and business context. If from the "body shops" with fake "diploma-mill graduate" H-1B's, the work quality goes to shit.

In which case, they hire back a few of the old laid of FTE workers, now desperate to get any professional work, back as "contractors" at crap pay, no right to unemployment, and no or shite benefits. "They can't do that by law" like hell, they can use their own in-house captive "consulting agency" to hire them as W-2 but not "real employees" of the parent firm, thus getting around the IRS regs on "are you a contractor or an employee". The IRS cares, because, taxes. The other agencies don't give a crap.

Comment: Re: who the f.uck uses adobe for ebooks (Score 1) 150

by xenoc_1 (#48088247) Attached to: Adobe Spies On Users' eBook Libraries

Every bookseller of not-Kindle-format eBooks. Adobe Digital Editions is not Adobe OFF. For a tech site it's facepalmworthy how much of this discussion is by people unaware of that.

It's also not just library books. It's the DRM tech and server license infrastructure behind Google Books, Kobo Books, back in the day Sony, anybody who let you download your so-called "purchased" eBook for reading in other than their specific app or hardware.

Nook uses an odd variant without the ADE server and .acsm license file, but e-ink Nook and the original Nook Color are authorizable devices to read standard ADE-downloaded DRM EPUB books. My ancient Nook Color and Kobo e-ink readers are loaded with ADE-downloaded DRM books from Google Books and other "not device-native store" books. The Nook has all my Kobo book purchase's on it by that ADE method, though due to Nook's nonstandard non-acsm version of Adobe DRM, I can't put the nook purchase's on the Kobo.

It's also how you get mixed-stores books into on combined better reader app like Bluefire or Aldiko on Android. Download your .acsm license file From Google Play, Kobo, whomever. Open it in ADE, signed in with your adobe ID and your EPUB download's, authorized to that ID. Copy that EPUB to your mobile and if Aldiko or Bluefire is registered with your adobe ID you can read it.

Nothing to do with PDF format, though PDF files can be DRM'd with the same tech. Normally on modern reflowable EPUB.

So Adobe tracking non-DRM EPUB files is a big deal, because ADE is crucial for every non-circumventer in the anything-not-Kindle eBook world.

Comment: Not a no-brainer given typical USA housing options (Score 0) 70

by xenoc_1 (#47958643) Attached to: Wanxiang May Give 2012's Fisker Karma a Relaunch

Recent college grads, at least back in the days when jobs were available, tend to live in apartment buildings in cities or in apartment complexes of townhouse or garden-apartment types of units in the suburbs. Neither of which typically have any access to one's own electrical outlet, nor in many cases dedicated-to-unit parking.

The entire electric car argument, however environmentally beneficial it may seem on surface, is dependent on everyone having their own "single-family home" with its garage to put the high-powered dedicated charging unit. Or at least their own dedicated parking spot, direclty by their unit, with its own electric outlet on their own power account, easily accessible yet secured against leechers. Physically located such that nobody's running cable-spaghetti of extension cords across lawns and pavement to reach their vehicles. Protected against the scourge of HOAs who tend to have shitfits if anybody paints their doorway, plants the wrong color flower, or even puts out an unapproved welcome mat, never mind runs an electric cord five feet to their car. Indemnified against nuisance but financially disastrous (even to defend against if winning) lawsuits by somebody claiming their entire future livelihood was ruined by tripping on the cord, thus $MILLIONS.

That's not to mention the relatively large group of "woo-woos" who will belive that "car charging radiation is causing cancer" or some such dribble. But I repeat myself, I already mentioned "HOAs" and you can bet that any Homeowners Association has at least one or two "condo commandos" who are "woo-woos" of the Alex Jones / Natural News / Jesse Ventura nature. For you "I'd never live in a place that had an HOA" folks, well aren't you just very special libertarian snowflakes. Wide swathes of the USA are dominated by HOAs including so-called "single-family" home developments. Condo apartments and townhouses are often the first "affordable" home ownership options, and all come with HOAs or equivalent. Your family, personal, and employment opportunity issues might make your "Off to a non-HOA freehold" fantasy just that, a fantasy. I'm talking about Real People here, not Slashdotters or Randian politburo members.

Not to mention the renters. Who in the USA can't do squat without landlord approval. Even things with clear Federal Preemption to allow renter rights. like the decades-old FCC TV Antenna and Dish rulings, are widely ignored, and your landlord can make your life hell if you try to push your "rights".

I honestly believe these "what's it like at home?" issues are bigger blockers to all-electric (Tesla) or electric-primary plug-in-hybrid vehicles (this Fisker, Chevrolet Volt) than anything about range or charging stations at destinations.

Comment: Medium does not report (Score 1) 408

by xenoc_1 (#47956611) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

"Medium reports..." makes as much sense as saying " reports..." or for that matter, "Geocities reports..."

Medium is a self-publishing fancy hipster bloggy vehicle. It doesn't have a staff of journalists, nor even pseudo-journalists nor curators like Timothy. It's a prettified competitor to for the hipsters, while being slightly less self-indulgently vapid than Thought Catalog. Slightly.

"Bolt reports, on their blog at Medium, because they can't be arsed to put one on their own website,..." would be more accurate. Except they do actually have a blog on their own website, and this same article is on it. Though their "blog" on their site is just an index page of posts on their hipster Medium account.

Medium doesn't report squat, comprende?

Comment: Geotarget your AdWords (Score 4, Interesting) 97

by xenoc_1 (#47543213) Attached to: Nasty Business: How To Drain Competitors' Google AdWords Budgets

Depends on the audience of the web sites your ads were displayed on. If you were, for instance, advertising for a US company on a site that had lots of viewers from Europe, the exhaustion early in the day might have been legitimate. Europe is a few time zones ahead.

If your intention is to advertise only to the US market, which is what I assume from your example, you're doing it wrong if you are even showing AdWords to audiences in Europe. Unless, of course, they are using a VPN or proxy or other means to browse with a US-based IP address.

Heck, you can target down to individual zipcodes, Congressional districts, counties, Metro areas, and a bunch more ways. No excuse other than ignorance if you or your clients ads are running in an entirely different continent.

If you want your ads for your US company to appear in Europe as well as in USA, then you need to create a sufficient AdWords daily budget, plus perhaps do time of day targeting. Or to be better at it, have separate AdWords campaigns for each geo, with separate budgets, even if you're using the same ads.

There's a lot I don't like about AdWords, including how Google loves to split functionality into different menus and services and levels of products to create massive confusion about how to use them. Like WTF isn't there one single thing that has all my ad budgets, my analytics, my webmaster tools, my everything-about-it, all in one damn place? Or to use another, non-ads example, Google Voice can be used as VOIP from a computer, but only by a not-well-explained combo of Google Voice + Google Chat + Gmail page + Google Talk plugin, something no non-technical "normal person" will ever discover. Some of that dysfunctional UX comes from Google's only-engineers culture, but on the advertising products I think some of it is also deliberate ambiguity so you will inadvertantly spend more. Same reason that in USA and many other jurisdictions, Google will not let you prepay for a fixed spend, only postpay - they like that you can't quite control it, and the house always has the edge.

But they do provide geotargeting tools, rather good ones. So no excuse if your ads are running in the wrong locales.

That doesn't make the sleazy service abusing AdWords any less evil themselves. But if the ads are eaten up by wrong geolocations, whether from that sleazy service or just from legitimate browsing clicks in the wrong countries, that is the advertiser's own fault for not using the control Google gives them.

Comment: Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 5, Insightful) 243

by xenoc_1 (#46799953) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

Sometimes I wonder if I was the only one paying attention in Civics and Social Studies. Cliff notes version:

1) The United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic. ...

Oh jeez this again? The classic GOP / Libertarian / Tea weak-minds binary thinking that gets the meaning of both "republic" and "democracy" wrong.

The US is (supposed to be) a democracy. Just ask any living current or ex-President. Look at any respected list of "countries that are democracies". You do the research. It's simple.

The US is a republic. As in, "not a monarchy".

Republics can be democracies or they can be dictatorships, and pretty much anything in between. There is also nothing in the word "republic" which implies "representative". Just ask North Koreans.

Democracies can be direct democracies, like ancient Athens or a current-day New England Town Meeting or California ballot initiative. Or they can be representative. There is nothing in the word "democracy" that implies "direct-only".

"Democracy" and "Republic" are orthogonal concepts, they are not antonyms. Even when the US Senate was appointed, it was appointed by state legislatures which were comprised of elected representatives, who were elected by democratic elections. As opposed to being appointed by the monarch or being passed down via aristocratic houses.

Actually nowadays we are closer to that, with the money=speech nonsense and an increasingly distractable and distracted public who will vote whichever way paid media brainwashes them to do. House Clinton, House Bush, House Kennedy, and the upstart House Paul.

You may flip the order of the following words around, depending on what you want to emphasize, change some from adjectives to nouns, but all these terms are needed to properly define what the US system of government is:

Constitutional Federal Republic governed as a Representative Democracy,

or a
Federal Constitutional Representative Democratic Republic.

Choose your emphasis, but you cannot leave any of those terms out without misrepresenting how the system is designed.

  • It's a Federation of States. Not a unitary central government with weak subdivisions that have only specifically designated powers (like for example Uruguay is, where the "departamentos" of my new country of residence are far weaker than US States or even Canadian provinces, are more like counties in US states.)
  • It operates under a written Constitution, rather than an unwritten or partially-wrtten collection of basic law (like the UK has)
  • It is a Republic, not a Monarchy (unlike the UK which is a monarchy even though it is also a democracy)
  • It is a Representative democracy rather than a direct democracy, at its Federal and in most cases at lower levels (same as UK)
  • It is a Democracy rather than a dictatorship. We The People (supposedly) have a voice and a fairly-run, democratic vote, in deciding who represents us.

Leaving any of that out is at best, ignorant point-missing. Usually it is deliberate agitprop.

The sky isn't blue, it's where birds fly. What you are saying is every bit as nonsensical and more dangerous.

Comment: Nothing in article says highest speed in the world (Score 1) 142

by xenoc_1 (#46641033) Attached to: How Far Will You Go For Highest Speed Internet?

Typical slashdot bad editors. Fastest in Norway != fastest in world.

I now live in a small beach town in Uruguay, on a dirt road, and I got a free upgrade to fibre-to-home, which is being extended to every home in Uruguay. Time for me to get my bogus submission ready for "Uruguay has the best internet in the world". Just because a country is socialist on basic services, and extends fiber to everywhere, does not make it the best in the world. Makes it damn good, but "best" or as hyperbolically stated, "the highest quality Internet experience in the world" requires proof. As others have mentioned, that requires specific speeds, pings, and total transfer allowances, before making such a claim.

Better than the Comcast/ATT/Verizon cabal does not mean "best". Despite what all you US-centric folks may think.

Comment: That never was "the deal" (Score 1) 424

by xenoc_1 (#46261201) Attached to: Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

What he said. The truth is, I never had cable TV for those reasons, and this: Remember, the deal was commercials = free TV. Cable started out with no commercials (yes, it did - except for the network channels), but they slowly began adding them in, until now, where there are more commercials on cable channels than on network television. Of course, TV watchers are a docile group to begin with...

When was that ever "the deal" as opposed to "what you wanted to be the deal"? Cable used to be called CATV, for "Community Antenna TV" and was primarily a way to bring television programming into areas that were geographically un-served by TV, usually due to actual geological / topographic reasons. Places like Ithaca, NY, or Breckenridge, Colorado, where no way in hell is a TV signal from Syracuse or Denver is getting into them through the hills down into the valleys. Later, urban canyons like NYC where not everyone had the ability to put up any kind of outdoor antenna - not because of regulations as much as real estate realities, and indoor antennas suffered from horrible multipath. I've lived in all three of the places I mentioned, laughably tried to get OTA TV in them, and have been a cable subscriber in all of them at one point or another. Getting "content" without commercials was never the deal - it was getting content, at all.

Later, the idea of "cable channels" started taking off, and what we now think of as the "basic tier" of cable stations began to show up. Watching "USA Night Flight" back in the day, then the launch of MTV with actual music videos. Along with the "Arts and Entertainment Network" that had plays, classical concerts, opera, not dysfunctional yahoos. Whether or not these extra stations had commercials, there was never any "deal" that "your cable bill pays for the content", CATV was a distribution method. Then the "pay tv" channels like HBO became popular. You can't pay for HBO without paying first for the "CATV" distribution subscription. In 2014 that's a dumb idea, but back then it wasn't - you were paying for the pipe, and now that you had the pipe, you could also pay for premium content. Given that "pay tv" is either "pay by having commercials" or "pay by having a CONTENT fee", I don't see a difference.

Your strawman argument against cable is flawed. You never understood the deal. You weren't paying for the pizza, you were paying for the delivery of the pizza.

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. -- Isaac Asimov