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Comment Re:"essentially useless" (Score 1) 44

Can't say I've had the distinction of driving in Boston. But I have driven in various areas in over 20 US states and 10 Canadian provinces and territories. The traffic lights are "red yellow green" (left to right) or "red yellow green" top to bottom. For other configurations (turn arrows and such), there are nearly universally consistent variations.

Of course, what's really fun is trying to figure out the lights at 6+ way intersections.

Comment Re:"essentially useless" (Score 4, Informative) 44

Just pointing out that green is not the problem for me (red/green colour blind) because the green traffic lights have a markedly different lightness. Green traffic lights look white to me and red ones don't. Rather, I can't tell the red and amber lights apart because the lightness of red and amber is too close. But don't let that confuse you too much. You have noticed that the lights are always in the same order, right? Guess why.

Comment Typewriters are the right answer (Score 1) 325

Limited supply or not, manual typewriters are the right answer for several reasons:

1. From the submission, it seems that everything else that is not in limited supply is too expensive in either cash terms or electricity usage.
2. High technology devices are more likely to fail, and if they fail, are much more difficult (or impossible) to fix.
3. Even if the limited electricity supply goes away, a manual typewriter still works.
4. A decently constructed manual typewriter will outlast any electronic device.

Comment Re:Imagine a world run by librarians... (Score 1) 454

Imagine a world run by librarians...all information is free and uncensored but we all have to speak in whisper voices and women have to wear their hair in buns and sensible shoes and tearing pages out of library books would punishable by a year in jail.

Women would have to wear their hair in sensible shoes? That would be interesting to see.

Comment Re:Run your own NTP if it matters (Score 1) 290

The problem here is that there are two different words. "flame" and "inflame". "inflame" is not using the "in-" prefix. You can add "-able" to either one, with the usual meaning. That then gives "flammable" and "inflammable". You can then theoretically add "in-" meaning "not" to "flammable" which gives "inflammable". This is clearly an absurd situation since you now have two conflicting meanings which usually cannot be separated in context. (For the record, "inflame" does not have strictly the same meaning as "flame".)

In my part of the world, "inflammable" is generally thought to mean "not burnable" but there is enough confusion that it is better to avoid using the word altogether.

Comment Re:Receivers transmit (Score 1) 290

Those vans only find the "leakage" in local proximity. They can't, for instance, identify which house has a set if it were pointed at London from, say, Paris. And even if the *low power* GPS receiver circut is transmitting something receivable, it would only be retransmitting the signal already coming from the satellite, not the location information which never enters the radio circuitry.

Comment Re:To be fair.... (Score 1) 268

Not flaming here. However, how can you be sure that your visitor using his own device is not doing something illegal? The answer is that you can't know, especially if you, like the vast majority, are not a computer expert. It's too easy to hide a process that is sitting around cracking passwords or downloading movies.

And that doesn't even take into account the fact that even a reasonably secured access point is crackable in a reasonable time frame, mac addresses are generally trivially spoofable, and so on. Thus, because wireless is easilly accessed compared to hard-wired networks, it is a reasonable argument that even a consciencious home network operator may not be aware of the infringing activity which may not even be happening on his property where he can see it.

And finally, the insanely stupid argument: are you going to hold the homeowner responsible for a burglar using his network to download illegal files? After all, a burglar is clearly not authorized by the homeowner but he will also appear to come from the IP address. Thus it is reasonable that the person alleging wrongdoing should have something other than an IP address.

Comment Re:SVN for law (Score 1) 115

It's not clear that common law makes the situation any better. It may seem to do so when the relevant legal history is short but when you have many centuries of precedents, laws, and other confusion, it hardly makes things simpler.

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